Cart Abandonment


Shopping cart abandonment is a process when a prospective customer visits your ecommerce store, adds one or more products to the cart, and exits without completing the purchase.

What Is Shopping Cart Abandonment?

Shopping cart abandonment occurs when a prospective customer visits your ecommerce store, adds one or more products to the cart, and exits without completing the purchase. The products in the cart are considered ‘abandoned’ by the shopper. 

Shopping cart abandonment is not related to the visibility of your ecommerce site or the offers you run. So the cart abandonment issue will not get solved by you offering more freebies. What you need is a careful analysis of why users are leaving the cart without completing their transactions. 80% of online shoppers admitted that they had left a cart without completing the purchase.

How Can I Calculate My Cart Abandonment Rate?

Ecommerce retailers can monitor and calculate cart abandonment rates to understand the specific reason behind the increase or decrease in sales. You can understand the percentage of purchase intent of visitors who do not buy even after adding things to the cart. 

Here is the formula for calculating your cart abandonment rate:

Shopping cart abandonment rate =
[ 1- (total no. of completed purchases/number of carts created) ] x 100%

You calculate the cart abandonment percentage by dividing the total number of purchases by the shopping carts number created. Subtract the end result from 1 and multiply by 100 to get the abandonment rate. 

Why Is Shopping Cart Abandonment an Issue?

With the ‘resurrection’ of brick and mortar, we finally know that there is no longer a fight between retail and ecommerce. It is more about customer experience at each touchpoint, regardless of it being online or offline. We have examples in Sears and Toys R Us where failure to adapt to the changing expectations led to bankruptcy. At the same time, we saw several ecommerce companies pack up due to the same reason. 

Both physical and online stores have their own pros and cons. For example, ecommerce gives customers the ease of shopping from home, while retail is an overall shopping experience that is memorable for a customer. Sephora is a big example of a merchant succeeding online because of its customer experience strategies.

How Does Shopping Cart Abandonment Affect Ecommerce?

The biggest disadvantage of ecommerce businesses is the losses they face due to shopping cart abandonment. Abandoned carts have a huge impact on the bottom line of a business. Each cart represents a shopper who was hugely interested in the product or service but abandoned the cart. So it means that there are avoidable problems behind this phenomenon, and the right strategies can fix it.

Reasons Behind Cart Abandonment in Ecommerce

To understand why visitors abandon their carts, you must evaluate what they do on the website when they are browsing. Retailers need to segment the visitors into people who come in for shopping and people who only visit for window shopping.

High-intent shoppers know what they want to buy, and their behavior is usually to shortlist or add an item to a wishlist. The average shopper is interested in more than one product, so why does the same shopper bounce off from the website without buying?

To answer the question, we need to determine the reasons for cart abandonment. 

Cart abandonment could be happening solely due to the poor mobile optimization of the website on the device. Moreover, desktops are better for focusing on a purchase, whereas in mobile devices, you keep getting push notifications from other apps, which becomes a distraction. 

So many people use mobile devices for browsing and have no intention of completing a purchase in the first place. The low purchase intent of a shopper is a key reason for cart abandonment. While this may be unavoidable, you can create a great experience so the interested person can come back to complete their purchase. 

Apart from technology, there are many reasons why a shopper does not complete their purchase. Popular reasons include:

Cart Abandonment

Ways to Avoid Cart Abandonment in Ecommerce

1. Improve Website Speed

In the era of fast transactions and impatience, people will exit your website if it takes more than a few seconds to load. The key to reducing your cart abandonment rate is to make the online shopping experience as seamless and fast as possible. This means that you keep site load times low and test the speed of your website after every update. Customers hate slow-loading websites, so take steps like minimizing your image size and installing a CDN to improve your site speed.

2. Optimize for Mobile

Approximately 4 billion people own a mobile phone now. Out of this number, 25 percent use their phones to access the internet. Nowadays, young shoppers are using only their phones to complete most daily tasks, including making purchases. Therefore, delivering a seamless experience on mobile is vital to getting more conversions. If your website doesn’t render well on the mobile screen, combined with usual mobile distractions like calls and texts, it will lead to a high cart abandonment rate. 

Mobile-friendly websites are good, but now you must upgrade to a mobile-optimized or responsive experience. In fact, the best way to cater to the millennial market is by developing a native app for iOS and Android. No website comes close to the experience of a native app. Some of the biggest ecommerce websites like H&M and Amazon prove this strategy time and again. 

3. Keep Your Checkout Short

Having a long checkout process could be a bane for your business. The minute a shopper is met with multiple fields at checkout or ping to create a new account, they will abandon the cart. After all, who likes filling long verification forms, confirming IDs, entering payment details one after the other? Put simply, customers are likely to click away if your checkout process consumes too much of their time.

A workaround to this is to let people shop with the help of their social media accounts, and they can register with the social media website and go straight to checkout. Additionally, the cart page should offer clear information about the checkout process, ideally broken down in pointers.

You can take a leaf out of Amazon’s book by facilitating a one-click procedure. Instagram recently introduced a feature where you can click on a product and purchase it directly through the app instead of moving to another website. This teaches a lot about what modern shoppers like and use for online shopping.

4. Eliminate Fear and Uncertainty

One major distinguishing fact between online and physical stores is that you cannot touch and feel a product in online shopping. This problem may lead to confusion for the shopper and cart abandonment. You can fix this by having a photoshoot that results in high-quality images of your items. You can work to convey the most realistic image of a product with the help of product 360-degree videos as well. The importance of keeping product descriptions honest and detailed cannot be undermined either. Heavily-edited photos are also a no-go area because they lead to more confusion. 

Fashion websites need to stop using ghost mannequins and flat lay images. Fashion imagery on models is a big driver of conversions. And it is not enough to have a model of the same body type and height wear all your products. Shoppers today will want to know how the product looks on them. This is where artificial intelligence can help. Fashion imagery will save you costs, save abandonment of carts and make your business processes more effective.

5. Be Transparent With Pricing

Many people abandon carts because of hidden costs that pop up in the end. If you show one price on the product page and then increase the amount in the checkout process, customers will get annoyed. The easiest way of avoiding cart abandonment is to make sure that all costs are mentioned upfront and in a visible area of your website. This helps ensure visitors won’t get a nasty surprise in the end and leave their products. Pricing transparency can also earn you respect in the market because customers will be on the same page with you. For example, mentioning real-time that a customer is “X amounts away from free delivery” motivates them to checkout.  

6. Leverage Social Proof

The best person to convince a customer is another customer. A simple text like ‘300 people bought this product this week’ can go a long way by convincing shoppers to make the right decision. When people think that they made the right deal, they will feel a positive inclination to continue. Websites can also assure customers by telling them how much money they save on a deal and which products receive the best reviews. 

Bonus Tips

Frequently asked questions

It is an ecommerce term used to describe the situation when a shopper leaves checkout without completing a purchase. The products are known as abandoned because the shopper did not complete the transaction.

Cart abandonment is a significant issue for ecommerce businesses because it can lead to product unavailability for interested customers, loss of revenue, and strain on servers.

You can avoid cart abandonment by:

  • Making your site load faster
  • Optimizing site for mobile devices
  • Keeping the checkout short
  • Eliminating uncertainty
  • Keeping price transparency
  • Stating clear returns policy
  • Offering flexible payment options